Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Funerals, Flights, and Films, Part 2

On Saturday, around 1:00, our plane made its final approach toward St. Louis. The pilot had just informed us that the temperature was in the 60's. This fact only made us more excited to hit the road in hopes of making our first True/False film of the day, or weekend for that matter.

For my work, I drive on I-70 all the time. I know how fast I can drive without getting stopped by the po-po (ghetto term for the police). In other words, I made excellent time.

The temperature rose closer and closer to 70 as I stripped my s
uit from that morning's funeral. It was hard to believe that we were in cold, snowy Detroit, Michigan just a little over an hour before. Now we were fully in T/F mode and ready for the marathon to come.

After frantically changing clothes and picking up our passes, we rushed o
ver to Macklanburg Cinema to see our first film, Very Young Girls. Our friend, E, saved us seats and we quickly settled in for the film.
VYG was a well-done, professional doc with plenty of tear-jerking moments, but the audience sort of missed the point. The filmmaker and some of the subjects spoke of the trafficking of (very) young girls in this country, New York specifically. However, New York City is still a world away from Misery. The point is that the trafficking of young women (the average age is 13) is happening in our own backyard. So, that means it's happening here just as it happens in other countries or NYC. The tone of the questions from the audience suggested that this fact was lost on them. Either way, it was a compelling film.

With such a heavy start to our festival, we later returned to the Macklanburg to catch the ironically scheduled American Teen. It's ironic in that the previous film in the same theater was about teenage prostitutes, and this film was about typical high school drama as played out in a mostly white, middle-class community.

The screening had an auspicious beginning when a security official from Paramount Studios warned that if he and his people caught anyone recording any video or audio of the film, such offenders would be promptly arrested. I don't believe this happened. I mean, come on, where is there a market for bootlegs of documentaries? I've never bought a copy of Manufactured Landscapes at the local barber shop. Of co
urse, a doc about teenage angst is not the most artistically sophisticated film subject, but I still don't think it would be a hot commodity on the black market.

Next, we headed across the street to the Windsor Cinema to see Forbidden Lies, a story about the woman who conned the publishing industry (and many, many other people) with her fictionalized memoir of honor killings in Jordan. This highly stylized, very slick doc was very intriguing, but like so many films at T/F, it delivered the message and proceeded to beat you with it over and over again. However, the film was one of the few I've seen at T/F that really played on the idea of truth versus fiction, causing the audience to constantly go back and forth on whether they believe the subject or not. As far as it's big film style, it was this year's Manda Balla.
By this point, R had had enough (the pregnancy thing seems to suck the life force out of her) and headed home. I, on the other hand, had another film to catch...

To be continued.


Lauren said...

Glad to hear you and your wife were able to catch a few movies this past weekend. I was sad to have missed Very Young Girls (as you saw I was working the door for that film) but I was able to see American Teen. It was somehow both very funny and very sad. In the end, it made me remember why I would never want to repeat high school. I'll be checking back to see what other films you saw at the festival and what you thought of them (Song Sung Blue, Man on Wire?) Looking forward to it!

comoprozac said...